Andrei Paluda: “I choose life!”
The coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the death penalty in Belarus" Andrei Paluda visited Rome together with the well-known advocate of the world-wide abolition of the death penalty, Uzbek human rights activist Tamara Chikunova, to take part in the events dedicated to the problem of death penalty and human rights violations.
On 28 November a meeting was held at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Tamara Chikunova told more than 1,700 students of the institution her life story and how her son was executed by shooting and then posthumously justified by court. A. Paluda spoke about the death penalty and the problems that are associated with the executions. He stated that the existence of the death penalty in law makes society more violent and does not contribute to the prevention of grave crimes.
On the same day the Belarusian human rights activist met with the head of the Human Rights Commission of the Italian Parliament Mazaratstsi Mario, vice president of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. The meeting was held at the Italian Parliament.
On 29 November Andrei Paluda told the participants of the eighth International Congress of Ministers of Justice, which was held at the City Hall of Rome, with numerous violations of human rights in Belarus.
The Belarusian human rights activist was listened with curiousity by many members of Congress: more than twenty justice ministers from Asia, Africa and Latin America, European and Italian politicians, including the head of the Italian Senate Petro Grasse.
On 30 November in Rome a landmark event "Cities for Life, Cities against the Death Penalty" was held at the walls of the Coliseum in Rome.
This global campaign was launched by the Catholic community of St. Igidi. Famous monuments of architecture are iluminated in the largest cities of the world in order to protest against the death penalty. As a rule, about 1,500 cities from all over the world take part in this action.
Several hundreds of Rome citizens gathered near the illuminated Coliseum that evening. Andrei Paluda made a speech about the ongoing use of the death penalty in Belarus. A concert was held on a special stage.